More Opportunities to “Do Something.”

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Dear friends,

The trial of the LANL 6 yesterday was an amazing and profound, as well as sobering, occasion.

More than 70 supporters and friends turned out to accompany the 6 and their legal team of Jeff Haas and Lisa Krooth, into the court and to witness proceedings. Court officials said they had never seen such a large audience for a trial, and indeed the court could only contain 53 people in the audience at any one time. Thank you to all of you who gave your time to be present yesterday. We know that it meant a huge amount to each of the 6 who were on trial.

The 6 were charged on three counts:
1. Trespass
2. Obstructing movement
3. Refusing to obey a police officer

To all charges the 6 plead not guilty. Their defense team showed very clearly that none of the 6 were warned that they were trespassing and all believed that they were on a public street. They argued that they had been ineffective in obstructing traffic, and indeed that the real obstructions to traffic were caused by the huge presence of police and private security personnel. But they all acknowledged that they had heard the request to move out of the street and had chosen to stand their ground. The 6 and their legal team spoke eloquently and passionately about why they had committed no crime, and indeed why they were following a much higher legal requirement in acting as they did. They spoke at length about:

The immoral nature of nuclear weapons production
The national and international laws, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty, that makes the production of nuclear weapons illegal. In summing up, Jeff Haas referred to Article 6 of the US Constitution that makes such treaties, once signed, national law. He also referred to the Nürnberg Charter, which came out of the Nürnberg war crimes trials, that requires citizens, on humanitarian and legal grounds, to take action to stop crimes against peace and crimes against humanity
Their belief that the most critical national and global security issue we face is climate change, and that the billions of taxpayer dollars spent on the production of nuclear weapons at LANL could and should be spent addressing climate change
The “necessity defense” – their legal and moral imperative to warn people, especially employees of LANL, who are apparently unaware of the dangers of nuclear weapons and low-level radiation
The fact that LANL stands on land stolen from indigenous people, which was reportedly promised to be returned after WWII
The economic injustice and resource misuse of the work of LANL
The illegality and immorality of the ongoing militarization and war-mongering of the USA

Unhappily, the judge was unmoved by these arguments. He found all 6 not guilty of trespass, but convicted them on the counts of obstructing movement and refusing to obey a police officer. The prosecution did not call for jail time, and so the judge fined each of the 6 $100 on each count, plus court costs, and put them on probation for one year, with a condition that they not be arrested in Los Alamos County during that year.

While the fines are significantly less than those that could have been imposed, the one-year probation is excessive in a case like this. However, all of the LANL 6 stand in solidity and are refusing to pay the fines, on the grounds that they have committed no crime and indeed were working to prevent much greater crimes. They now have 15 days in which to decide whether to appeal the court’s decision, or to try an alternative route. If they do not pay the fines within 30 days, they face jail time.

We will keep you updated on the progress and decisions the LANL 6 and their defense team make over the next few days and weeks.

In the meantime, we are already starting to organize for 2013, including of course events and protests in July and August – July 16th being Trinity Day, August 6th Hiroshima Day, and August 9th Nagasaki Day.

Thank you for all that you do to help make our society more peaceful and sustainable.

In peace,
Michelle Victoria and Thomas Jaggers

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